Chef’s Note: Rustic in flavor and presentation, this adaption of a recipe from food writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins is definitively delicious. I have increased the tomatoes because, frankly, you can never have enough caramelized tomato flavor on plain pasta. Many varieties of small tomatoes are available almost year-round. I like to use red cherry tomatoes or the smaller grape tomatoes. The toughest part of this recipe is halving the tomatoes.
- 1-1/2 pounds ripe cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup fresh French bread crumbs
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound penne, fusilli, or farfallini pasta
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh basil
Directions Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the tomato halves in a large baking dish that can be brought to the table.
Step 2: In a small bowl, combined the garlic, bread crumbs, cheese, salt, and pepper. Spoon evenly over the tomatoes. Spoon the olive oil evenly over the mixture.
Step 3: Roast the tomatoes for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly, browned, and slightly thickened.
Step 4: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta for about 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain well.
Step 5: Add the pasta to the tomato mixture in the baking dish. Add the basil and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Advance preparation: This is best made just before serving.
The clever cook could:
- Add cooked shredded chicken to the pasta for a more substantial dish.
- Grill shrimp or scallops and place on top of the pasta.
- Refrigerate any leftover pasta and serve chilled the next day, with cold roast chicken, salmon, or halibut.
Recipe credit: Seriously Simple: Easy Recipes for Creative Cooks (Chronicle Books, 2002), by Diane Rossen Worthington
Reprinted with permission from the publisher